Sam Ensley and son, Sammy
Sam Ensley is a retired school teacher. He is lead singer and usually plays mandolin, though he also trades son Sammy for his guitar on a song or two.
Besides organizing and hosting The Friday Night Concert Series at the Historic Union County Court House, Sam participated in the Roots & Branches Television.
What happens when you take traditional bluegrass, mix it with a little rock 'n roll and the blues?? You get the Roots & Branches! Roots & Branches the band is made up Sam Ensley, Sammy Ensley (Sam's son), Robert Brewer, and Wayde Powell III. As you might gather from the band's name, the "roots" of bluegrass is explored on the show, along with how the music can "branch" out into other musical genres.
Robert Brewer is the other senior member of the band. Robert plays bass and often sings. Last, but not least, is Wayde Powell III. The banjo picker of the group, Wayde grew up in Young Harris and is finishing up his music degree at North Georgia College & State University in nearby Dahlonega. Wayde - who is often jokingly called "Wayde The 11th" after a misprint in the local newspaper - is a phenom on banjo and can play a wide variety of music and instruments.
Sam Ensley, middle right on the mandolin in
"Roots and Branches"
Roots and Branches is an eclectic bluegrass band from the Georgia mountains. They are eclectic in that they perform songs from different genres using bluegrass instruments and arrangements. They also have a repertoire of their own original songs.
Wayde Powell, the only full-time musician in the group, holds a degree in classical guitar. He is widely recognized for his skills on other instruments, especially banjo and dobro. Sammy Ensley also plays several instruments, but with the group, plays mainly guitar and mandolin. He also is a prolific songwriter. Sam Ensley, Sammy’s father, plays mandolin and guitar, and writes many of their songs. Robert Brewer, recently retired county agent, plays bass with several bands in the area. For years, Roots and Branches have been very active with a long-running television show on the local channel and personal appearances. Nowadays, they perform on a selective basis at their favorite venues. They have recorded several CD’s, both individually and as a group.